The head of one of the country’s main trade unions has recommended that harsh penalties be meted out to owners of security firms who continue to violate the rights of those they employ.
General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) David Massiah suggested that such employers should be arrested and charged interest when they fail to pay workers.
“The employers should be punished. Those employers who continue to hold the workers at ransom, there needs to be something to remedy this situation, if I work for you I should be paid,” Massiah declared.
“Once you are in Antigua from whatever country, and you are working, you have rights. The employer should not be victimising you because you have decided to look after your interest,” he added.
The union officer said such discussions should commence immediately.
His comments came on the heels of an appeal from Labour Commissioner Eltonia Rojas to security guards.
On Wednesday, Rojas reminded security guards, who have been complaining to the department for years about working conditions, that there are provisions within the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Code to protect their interest.
She said several workers have complained of problems, but have refused to take action out of fear of losing their jobs.
Massiah said the ABWU represents quite a number of security guards and the complaints are very much familiar.
The union boss also said the employees, too, have to help themselves.
“They have to come together, go to the union and stand up for themselves,” Massiah said.